Launderland shattered – Woman, 91, drives through window of area business
What could have been a disaster in the Brunswick Basin instead made for a dramatic scene Sunday evening, when a 91-year-old woman drove her sport utility vehicle through the front of the Launderland coin laundry.
Although several customers were inside at the time, no one was hurt when the vehicle plowed through an outside bench and some of the laundry business’s indoor seating, owner Patrick Speer said.
“I’m so grateful nobody was hurt,” Speer said. “Employees from Ralphs often take a break on a bench in front of that window and right inside is where kids sit while their moms do laundry. It could have been really bad.”
The crash occurred about 6:15 p.m. at the business, which is next to Ralphs supermarket in the Brunswick Basin in Grass Valley.
“She took out about 20 feet of storefront,” Speer said. “It was just a mess.”
The driver told authorities she apparently stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake, causing her Chevrolet Blazer to jump a curb and crash through the coin laundry’s glass facade, said Grass Valley Police Sgt. Michael Hooker.
Hooker declined to identify the woman, who was not cited by police, but he said she did have an active driver’s license valid to 2008.
Police have called for a re-evaluation of the woman’s driving ability, meaning she has five days from the time of the accident to schedule an “intensive” examination by the Department of Motor Vehicles, Hooker said. If she does not contact the DMV in that time, her license will be suspended, he said.
In the days leading up to her re-evaluation, Hooker said, the woman has been asked by police not to drive.
“We don’t believe she’s capable of operating a vehicle safely,” Hooker said.
Had the crash occurred off a public roadway instead of on private property, Hooker said, the driver likely would have received a citation.
Speer said authorities were at the business until about midnight cleaning up debris. Monday, the front of the store was covered in plywood, and curious onlookers stopped to peek inside.
Speer’s wife, Linea, said the day had seen the business’s usual flow of traffic, although customers were being asked to enter through a rear door.
“People have been asking,” Linea Speer said. “Everyone thought we were remodeling. We weren’t – now we are. We are still open.”
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